|Birth location||Kumamoto, Japan|
|No. of films||over 600 theatrical releases|
|Tamaki Katori at IMDb|
Tamaki Katori (香取環 Katori Tamaki ) (b. 1938) is a Japanese actress best known for her appearances in pink film during the 1960s and early 1970s. Katori was the star of Flesh Market (1962), the first of these softcore pornographic films made in Japan. With over 600 film credits between 1962 and 1972, she was one of the most prolific Japanese adult film actresses of the 1960s, and became known as the "Pink Princess" of the first wave of pink films.
Tamaki Katori was born to a middle-class family in Kumamoto, on Japan's southern-most main island, Kyūshū, in 1938. Her father owned a pharmaceuticals company in Kumamoto which is still owned by the family. After being chosen as Kumamoto's entry in the Miss Universe Kumamoto beauty pageant, Katori was hired by Japan's oldest major film studio, Nikkatsu.
Katori was still acting in supporting roles at Nikkatsu when she appeared in director Satoru Kobayashi's controversial 1962 film, Flesh Market. The first Japanese film to contain nudity (director Seijun Suzuki's Gate of Flesh, made for Nikkatsu in 1964, would become the first mainstream Japanese film to contain nude scenes), Flesh Market was shut down by the police and censored before it could be re-released. Officially considered the first pink film-- the softcore pornographic genre which would dominate Japan's domestic cinema in the 1960s and 1970s-- Flesh Market became became a huge box-office success. Even with the limited distribution it received as an independent production, Flesh Market, which was made for 8 million yen, took in over 100 million yen.
At Nikkatsu, Katori continued playing supporting roles, notably in several early films directed by future pink film master, Kōji Wakamatsu. In his pre-pink days at Nikkatsu, from 1963 to 1965, Wakamatsu made 20 low-budget exploitation movies based on current events such as sensational crimes and disasters. Though at first the work was steady, Katori was barely surviving on the bit-part wages from Nikkatsu. When the major film studios started facing a decline in audiences, they began cutting back in film output. Katori's income suffered as well.
In the years since Flesh Market's release, several independent studios began specializing in the new pink film genre that had sprung up in the wake of that film's success. When one of these studios was willing to give Katori a contract to star in their pink films, she accepted the offer. She later explained, "They offered me 20,000 yen a movie. It was an incredible sum in those days. I hadn't been able to make it in mainstream movies because people said with my baby face and big boobs I was unbalanced, but those attributes turned out to be exactly what the pink movie business was looking for."
At Aoi Eiga studio, established in 1966 to specialize in these low-budget and profitable Pink films, Katori often worked in the sensationalistic and exploitive films of director Giichi Nishihara. Nishihara's films of the 1960s and 1970s would lead critics to call him both "Japan's sleaziest movie-maker," and "a cult favorite among devotees of extreme cinema." In Staircase of Sex (1968) Nishihara starred Katori with two foreign models in an attempt to cash in on the exotic appeal of the caucasian performers. Allmovie critic Robert Firsching comments of her work for the director at this studio, "Katori... deserves some sort of medal for valor after allowing Nishihara and Aoi Eiga studios to have her brutally raped five times in four films."
Early in his career, "Pillar of Pink" director Mamoru Watanabe collaborated with Atsushi Yamatoya-- Seijun Suzuki's screenwriter on Branded to Kill-- in several films. Katori starred in the team's 1969 film Women Hell Song: Man-Killing Benten, an atypical pink film inspired by Toei's Red Peony Gambler series. Jasper Sharp singles out a scene in which Katori makes love in an abandoned temple, as one of the most striking set pieces in the pink film genre.
Katori worked with Kōji Wakamatsu again in the late 1960s and early 1970s, after he had left Nikkatsu to form his own production company. In the Masao Adachi-scripted Sex Jack (1970), Katori appears as the lone female member of a group of anti-government radical students who plan to assassinate the prime minister and hijack a plane to North Korea. Shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1971, French censors claimed the film was "anti-social". One of Katori's final films with Wakamatsu was Sex Family (1971), which starred future Nikkatsu Roman porn queen, Junko Miyashita.
A leading actresses of the first-wave of the Pink film from 1964 to 1972, which was dominated by independent studios, Katori retired from acting just as her old employer, Nikkatsu, was taking over the genre and establishing the second period of Pink film, the Roman Porno era.
After retirement from film, Katori was married to actor Jun Funado for seven years. When they were divorced, she married a film director. A third husband moved with her back to her hometown of Kumamoto, where he went to work for the pharmaceuticals company Katori's father had owned. Though she gained a child from this marriage, she was eventually divorced again."
After her third divorce, Katori decided to support herself. She first ran a gasoline station, and, as of 2006, is presently running a company canteen. Reflecting on her role as a pioneering pink film star, Katori says, "I enjoyed my acting, but I never really got used to the atmosphere of the pink movie business." However, she adds, "I've got no regrets about my time in the entertainment world. I'd still go back there now to perform if there was a part for this old girl."